Participatory Action Research

graphic by Daniella Echeverria, 2021

Participatory Action Research, or PAR, offers a cyclical, collaborative approach to knowledge production that equitably engages diverse groups, and empowers people to take action with timely, relevant, and trustworthy information. Although the process is typically messy as it encountered unanticipated events and information (indicated by the “breaks” in the flow of the process above) distinct steps in the PAR model can be identified as: i)   community engagement and problem definition, ii)  research co-design and planning, iii)   observation and action, and iv)  analysis, communication, and problem re-engagement.

It is a collaborative approach that equitably involves community members, decisionmakers, researchers and other stakeholders in all aspects of the research process, from question identification to analysis and dissemination of results. It acknowledges the knowledge, expertise, experiences, and contributions of all members. It produces evidence for actionable change. Core values in PAR involve identifying and eliminating environmental harm and social inequity and promoting social justice.